The Ottawa Senators are looking beyond the current season, with reports suggesting they could be interested in KHL defenceman Artyom Zub.
With the Ottawa Senators expecting their season to come to an end after April 5th, they appear to be taking an early look at the international free-agent market.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Senators seem to be one of the three finalists for the signature of impending Russian blueliner Artyom Zub, who currently plies his trade with SKA St. Petersburg.
The 24-year-old Khabarovsk native is potentially looking to follow in the footsteps of a number of his fellow countrymen that have made the journey across the Pacific Ocean, moving from the KHL to the NHL after originally going undrafted and developing their game in their home country.
The 6-foot-2, 198lbs right-handed shot draws some comparisons to current Senators blueliner Nikita Zaitsev, having an offensive touch that has him currently as the highest-scoring defenceman for SKA with 12 goals and 19 total points in 48 regular-season games.
Zub has some international pedigree under his belt already, winning a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics while also earning a bronze medal for Russia at last year’s World Championships as well as the 2017 edition of the tournament.
At club level, Zub joined SKA from Amur Khabarovsk during the 2016/17 season, going on to play 18 playoff games on route to a Gagarin Cup title, helping his side overcome Metallurg Magnitogorsk in a five-game series.
With Dylan DeMelo and Ron Hainsey both linked with moves away from the Canadian capital, signing Zub could be seen as a move to help replace any outgoing players while also seeing the likes of Erik Brannstrom make the step up to the NHL on a full-time basis.
A final decision isn’t expected from Zub until the conclusion of the KHL season with SKA already qualifying for the playoffs, which are set to begin from March 1st.
What do you think of the Sens’ reported interest in Zub? Would you like to see the team target other free agent defencemen in July? Would you prefer to see the likes of DeMelo and Hainsey return? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!